5 Must-Have Calibration Tools
Integrators can use inexpensive to very expensive equipment such as SPL meters, acoustic/sound analyzer, tristimulus devices and spectroradiometers to calibrate A/V systems.
Jason Knott · November 27, 2012
Audio and video calibration is a potential money-making service integrators can provide to clients either as part of a service contract or as a one-off service call.
Either way, you need the right equipment to calibrate A/V systems.
According to David Frangioni of Audio One in Miami, a typical audio calibration for a 5.1 system will take:
Good: 30 minutes
Better: 4-8 hours or more
Best: 1-2 days
Frangioni says it’s a one-man job for the most part, but in most cases having an assistant will speed up the process. Frangioni advises integrators to sell audio calibration as a stand-alone service for $500 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of the system and whether you’re offering good, better, or best calibration. Recording studios and high-end theaters can cost double that amount to calibrate. Once a dealer buys the equipment, the margin on the service is high.
For a basic audio calibration, the system must have an audio receiver or pre-amp that can output test tones. If not, then you must generate your own test tones with a test disc with tones and pink noise on it.
“I always bring reference discs with me, both to use as test tones and source material that I’ve heard hundreds of times in many different rooms,” says Frangioni. “That way I have a solid reference point for what the audio should sound like when the system is calibrated.”
Who better to address video calibration equipment needs than the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF). According to president Joel Silver, in addition to having proper test patterns for color, white and black levels, it’s also imperative the technician wears the proper shirt. The technician should never wear something with bright colors that can affect the precision equipment. A black shirt is advisable.
“Always use the right tool for the right job,” says Silver. There are different types of meters that can be used. For example, meters that actually touch the screen vs. non-contact, tripod-mounted meters that read off of the screen from a distance. “The screen is part of the system,” declares Silver.
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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